HOTELS, CHEFS AND ADVENTURES IN OTTAWA CANADA
Savor the Flavors of Canada’s Capitol – Part I
By Bonnie Carroll
The Fairmont Chateau Laurier continues to be the diamond in the crown for the city of Ottawa, and for tourists to the city it is perfectly located in the center of points of interest. Located across the street from the double-decker bus tours and Paul’s Rideau Canal boat ride tours, the Parliament buildings, Rideau Shopping Center and walking distance to the ByWard Market, treasured museums and fantastic restaurants Chateau Laurier is the centerpiece for visitors wishing to see the heart of this great Canadian city.
The hotel celebrated 100 years last year with replica menus in their renowned Winfreds restaurant, as well as Zoe’s. The lounge or lobby of the hotel offer great meeting places for locals and distinguished guests, where traditional tea, cocktails or a perfect pint can be savored. I love the photograph of Winston Churchill, among a collection hung in the lounge, done by long-time hotel resident Yousuf Karsh an Armenian-born photographer who lived in the hotel and photographed many dignitaries and celebrities of the period.
The Winfreds award-winning restaurant is an elegant room with beautiful décor, and a menu to match. Executive Chef Louis Simard and his staff offer some Canadian and international specialties to please every visitor. Canadian born Simard joined the hotel in January 2013 and was a former sous chef at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, California. The hotel has an amazing wine cellar that includes rare European wines and welcomes exciting new wines from other destinations as they become available.
The Westin Hotel, which is connected to the New Convention Center and the Rideau Shopping Center, is a lovely hotel featuring Daly’s, a full service dining room offering wonderful faire, and I was told there is a tunnel connecting it to the Parliament Buildings. This modern hotel has a very attentive staff who are extremely helpful, and the location of the hotel is also advantageous for tourists who wish to see the city and have a limited time schedule.
Two blocks away, on your route to the famous ByWard Market, you will find a delightful new American owned restaurant called the Black Tomato, located at 11 St. George Street, where the chef Rob Mac Donald, who worked with Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Northern California, is serving up some amazing dishes to compliment their astounding list of local ale options. Chef Mac Donald’s duck comfit salad is outstanding.
The quickest and easiest way to get the facts and see the sights is on the Lady Dive & Grayline Ottawa big red double-decker buses parked on the street adjacent to the Rideau Canal. This is a charming way to get a look at the official buildings and major tourist attractions, and they offer a get-off-get-on option to allow visitors to spend time at each site. Paul’s Rideau Canal Cruises offer a lovely trip up the canal with an extensive story on the history of canal’s importance to the growth of Ottawa. Both tour options provide great photo opportunities for tourists. Also check the Ottawa Tourism site for the upcoming “Winterlude” winter celebration when the Rideau Canal becomes a skating rink for all of Ottawa.
So many museums, so little time. Ottawa is overflowing with wonderful museums including their Museum of Nature, National Gallery of Canada, Royal Canadian Mint, and many more. One of the most delightful spots to visit for lunch before or after a museum visit is the Le Cordon Bleu Signatures Bistro located in a large charming historic Ottawa mansion, where lunch and dinner are done under the skilled eyes of Master Chef Yannick Anton and prepared and presented by the student chefs. It’s all delicious. The owner of this Ottawa Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School and the venue in Paris is also connected to Remy Cointreau, so be assured the wine list is quite respectable.
Next month we will be doing a story covering the wonderful little towns around Ottawa, and will take you on the ferry ride to visit the French side where there are delightful restaurants, world renowned ski resorts and food producers you may enjoy learning about. Bon appétit!
Fairmont Chateau Laurier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Westin Ottawa, www.thewestinottawa.con
Ottawa Tourism, www.ottawatourism.ca
Ottawa Le Cordon Bleu, www.lcbottawa.ca